There is no doubt that Johnny Manziel has an effect on both fans and collectors. I have never made it a point to watch a pre-season game that doesnt have my favorite team playing in it. Last night, that all changed when I actually DVRed the Cleveland vs Detroit game just to see how Johnny Manziel did. I am going to guess and say it was the highest rated game of this type in NFL Network history. Manziel is just that type of guy, very similar to when Tim Tebow came to the league. The difference is that Manziel can actually play QB, where Tebow was a running back who just happened to throw passes every once in a while.
Manziel is easily the hottest rookie we have seen in a long time:
The Browns have already announced that come the next pre-season game, Manziel will be starting, and I am going to go out on a limb and say that he will likely also start week 1. He is a captivating personality and polarizing figure, which means that it is stupid not to play him whenever possible. Fans have already made his jersey the top seller in the league, and collectors are tripping over each other to pick up his cards.
For a lot of us who arent Manziel fans, it becomes a game of when to sell. For the fans out there, its a question of whether or not to buy without much frame of reference for his play. Here are my thoughts on both:
I am always someone who will advise to sell a brand new product as soon as it comes out. Football is weird in that cards can drop almost 50% in value over the course of one week. Once the team and player collectors get their licks, the bottom drops out. Manziel’s rarer cards have been able to hold value in Bowman, but in every Panini product, his cards rarely hold their top flight value. The jury is still out on inception, but its likely that it will follow suit.
Outside of selling new product cards quickly, you will have two options to sell in the future and I would take advantage of at least one. The first is when he is named the starter, sometime around pre-season week 3. At that point, everyone will want to gear up for the start of the season, and you will want to capitalize.
The second point is when the season starts and he has his first good game. The initial Browns’ schedule is pretty brutal, so Manziel may struggle at first. On the other hand, he may play well along the way, which could be a great time to sell. Ideally, you have your cards up and get some bandwagon fans to buy in as soon as he throws or scores his first TD.
There are a large contingent of collectors who think Manziel is the next big thing. Although I disagree, anything is possible in the NFL. I was definitely not sold on Cam Newton, and he has turned into a surprise QB that can actually play. Collectors seem to think he is going to help Carolina get to the big game, which helps the value already brought from being a heisman winner and #1 pick. I personally think Manziel will be a starter in Cleveland for the duration of his rookie contract. I dont think he is going to be a guy who will eventually get a 100 million re-up unless he blows the roof off the joint, but I do think he has potential to play into a second deal, something that Tebow was never able to do.
That being said, do you want to spend hundreds or thousands on a guy who may just keep going long enough to make it to a second contract? Im not sure. The personality and polarization of the collector base on Manziel’s prospects may keep his value higher until he solidifies whether or not he is going to be good, but many non-Browns fans may not be willing to wait that long.
I have pulled two big Manziel autos this year already and have opted to sell immediately due to hot product bumps in value. At this point I have no reservations about doing so, even after last night’s game.